What is heritage? It is the beauty found in the history place, period of time or a country.
For too long the major brands have benefited from ripping off authentic vibrant African materials in the name of fashion, completely disregarding the cultures from which the prints have been plucked.
To add insult to injury many of these brands will showcase their “African inspired” garments often including Ankara print during fashion weeks and trade shows on a group of mostly white models, leaving the original designers to become nothing more than an afterthought to the modern day consumer. Some examples of this include Stella McCartney using ankara inspired designs at Paris Fashion Week 2017 and Matthew Williamson taking credit for designs inspired by Habesha Culture in 2008.
Is there a problem with being inspired by African culture? Absolutely not. The issue arises were traditional attire Is appropriated without slightest acknowledgment of the source. Something as precious as heritage ought to be preserved and celebrated not picked up and dropped flippantly for the purposes of a making a sale. Is anyone else tired of this mildly insulting reoccurrence? Worry no more.
Tobams Colors has been created to provide worldwide identity within African Ankara wax material. Fusing high end clothing with traditional African prints to create chic fashionable pieces that celebrate African heritage in an authentic manner, subsequently safeguarding the traditions from which they are inspired.
By supporting brands that supply good quality items, and more importantly identify and celebrate their true sources, we can ensure that African heritage remains an important part of the culture it is influencing. Additionally identifying the sources of inspiration also ensures that the money ends up in pockets of designers community who have so worked so hard to keep their cultures alive – and rightfully so.